FRENCH firm Sparkling Commodities recently acquired a majority stake in Asia Pacific Energy Resources Ventures Inc. (Apervi), a Cebu-based coal trading and mining equipment distribution firm, through Hong Kong-based Sparkling Capital Limited, a top official said.

According to Apervi president Ceasar Lao-as, the entry of the French company will provide additional resources for the company’s projects such as coal distribution and the development of a power plant in Cadiz City, which is expected to add additional capacity to the Visayas.

“The acquisition will enable Apervi to build a stronger coal marketing and distribution business as well as pursue the development of the power plant in Cadiz City,” said Lao-as in an interview last Friday.

Sparking Commodities is engaged in power generation and distribution. It has coal mining operations and concessions in India, and supplies coal to that country as well as China.

Apervi, on the other hand, is involved in coal trading, safety and mining equipment distribution, and consultancy services for mining engineering, mine planning and environment. The firm was established 2011. It is also a partner of the Panpisco Group of Companies that supplies industrial equipment in the Philippines.

Apervi, through its subsidiary, North Negros Energy Power Corp. (NNEPC), is building a 150-megawatt coal-fired power plant in a 10-hectare reclamation site in Cadiz’s commercial port in Barangay Banquerohan.

The first phase of the construction will initially produce 150 mw, expandable to 300 mw. The coal-fired power plant project in Cadiz is Apervi’s first foray into the energy industry.

Lao-as said they have revised the target completion of the power plant from 2016 to the first quarter of 2017 due to delays in the documentation. But he said that with the entry of Sparkling Commodities, “things will be moving faster now.”

He announced that the company will be issuing an invitation to bid for detailed engineering and equipment supply contracts.

With the power plant in place, he said they expect power prices to drop to P6 to P7 per kilowatt-hour from P11-12 per kwh. Cadiz, he said, gets most its electricity supply from Cebu.

Aside from the power plant project, Lao-as also announced that Sparkling Commodities will now supply coal to Cadiz coal terminal through their Indonesia-based Sparkling Komoditas Gemerlap. The coal terminal will be in full operation by July this year.

The two-hectare coal terminal in Cadiz built by Apervi is capable of storing about 200,000 metric tons of coal. It supplies to nearby sugar mills, power plants, cement plants and other industrial operations.

Prior to the acquisition, the firm supplied 8,000 mt of coal. Now, it is targeting 100,000 mt per month in coal deliveries. The Philippines only produces four million mt of coal per year vis-a-vis the current demand of 14 million mt. The shortage is imported from Indonesia, Australia and China.

In a recent position paper to President Benigno Aquino III, leaders of foreign and local trade associations urged the government to address immediately the power concerns of the country. They mentioned the power supply deficiency and uncompetitive electricity rates as two of the biggest obstacles to the country’s sustained growth.

To meet growth targets, Luzon now needs 600 megawatts and 300 mw more for each succeeding year, while Visayas needs 150 mw today and some 150 mw more per annum, the paper said. It was signed by the Philippine, American, European, and Korean chambers of commerce, Alyansa Agrikultura, Employers Confederation of the Philippines, Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. and Chamber of Mines of the Philippines.